Originally published August 2 2010
USDA says antibiotic use in livestock is negatively affecting humans
by Ethan Huff
(NaturalNews) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently testified before a House committee that antibiotic use in animal agriculture causes humans who eat such meat to develop antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance. Conventional cattle farmers often use antibiotics to speed the growth of their animals, but such use is causing widespread antibiotic resistance, according to experts.
According to a Des Moines Register report, John Clifford, chief veterinarian at the USDA, explained before the committee that antibiotic use in animals "does lead to some cases of antimicrobial resistance among humans and in animals themselves." So both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA are working to reduce, and possibly eliminate, the use of many animal antibiotics.
One reason livestock operations use antibiotics is to treat sick animals. Most conventional livestock operations are highly unsanitary, and animals are raised within confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These cramped conditions cause the animals to become sick more frequently than they would if they were raised in more spacious conditions, so they often need regular treatment for their constant illnesses.
Another reason why conventional animal farmers use antibiotics is to fatten their animals quickly. This practice is employed purely to increase profits, and has nothing to do with benefiting the animals or the humans who end up consuming products made from them.
Excessive use of antibiotics for both purposes has led to the emergence of "super" bacteria that are resistant to many of the traditional antibiotics that Americans have been using for years. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), use of antibiotics in animal production is the leading cause of antibiotic resistance among foodborne pathogens.
Animals that are raised in pastures with lots of open space tend to be much healthier than animals raised in confined feedlots. Feedlots tend to harbor filth and disease, but they are much more profitable for corporate agriculture giants that can churn out high volumes of drug-filled animal meat.
Pastured animals, on the other hand, are generally healthier; they grow at a natural pace; they have access to sunshine and fresh air; and the quality and composition of their meat is far superior to conventional grocery store meat.
Getting rid of antibiotics in animal agriculture is a good first step in the right direction, but eliminating feedlots and returning to traditional animal raising methods is even better.
About the authorEthan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.
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